Protest Pauses Teaching at UWC
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) has students once again engaging in #UWCShutdown in pursuit of their demands. Students at the institution are protesting for debts to be cleared and for more accommodation to be provided.
UWC students are on a mission once again to have their voices heard and have as a result, had the university come to a halt. With students criticising the institution for delivering empty promises about residence, students have been left to fend for themselves in hope that the university will take action. However, due to the lack of action taken, students have resorted to protests. Students were seen blocking entrances, disrupting classes as well as removing students from classes.
During these protests, police and private security have been engaged to control the situation and students are complaining saying they are being 'victimised' and that the police are 'using brutality' against them. Students are also being shot at with rubber bullets and being chased. What the students describe as a peaceful protest has become a scene filled with violence.
Student Representative Council Steps In
On the 2nd of February, the Student Representative Council (SRC) communicated their demands to the University. These demands were for the clearance of historic debt and for registration, to take care and provide student housing as well as for the university to commence on the 10th of February. On the 3rd of February, the SRC declared those demands, on behalf of the student body, during a protest.
The 4th of February saw a meeting being held between the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Student Development and Support and the SRC with UWC's response to the demands. Today, the 5th of February, the university has officially postponed their academic programme until the end of the week.
UWC's statement pertaining the postponement says, "This will allow students, who have not registered yet, to complete the processes." as all university business proceeds with the exclusion of classes. However, protests continue at the university, after the university has responded to the SRC's demands, and as a result, registration has been put on pause as buildings are closed as well.
Issues with Accommodation
Following last year's protests concerning accommodation, UWC students are not having their needs met and some are left homeless. With students coming from other provinces, UWC has a major demand for accommodation. There are many students who are offered accommodation but on arrival, they are told they cannot move in or the space is not available and they are left homeless.
Last year saw one of the residences UWC uses for it's students be unavailable to the students and protests ensued. Now, UWC has addressed the issue saying, "the University has secured 815 private additional bed spaces to contribute in addressing the ever increasing demand for accommodation."
Upon interviewing a current student who has accommodation issues, he said, "They started striking again and demanding the same thing. Some students are sleeping in the student center. Some are staying at ResLife or squatting somewhere. It's not nice. It's a lot of students."
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